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Fletcher Richman is a Co-Founder of Spark Boulder and Catalyze CU. He currently works at Galvanize Ventures.

What does being an entrepreneur mean to you?

For Fletcher, being an entrepreneur and being an engineer are very interrelated but have one key difference. An engineer builds things for the technical challenge of the project, where an entrepreneur builds stuff that people will actually use. Therefore to build things that add value to other people’s lives is what being an entrepreneur is.

 What have you done that you feel differentiated you from the pack?

Fletcher says there is not one crazy or out of the ordinary thing that he did that made him successful. Although, their are a few simple small things that he tells everyone, which made surprisingly a big difference. One thing is to constantly look for new opportunities. There are so many events, activities, clubs to be apart of so don’t settle for just one. Second, is to say yes to everything. “You have a ton of free time. Say yes to every club, every activity and spread yourself super thin and then that forces you to choose the things you actually like.” This is one of the best ways to really find what you’re passionate about and find what you really like to do. Finally, one of the most important things to do is to follow through. People these days don’t respond to the emails they get, set meeting times and then don’t show up, or say they’re going to do something and then don’t. It seems like pretty simple stuff but surprisingly almost 98% of people don’t do these simple things, which Fletcher says for him made all the difference.

 What advice would you give to an aspiring entrepreneur who is a freshman at CU Boulder?

If you’re an aspiring entrepreneur as a freshman, that’s awesome, you’re ahead of the game. Being in Boulder is a great place for entrepreneurship so that also gives you a huge advantage. But have a good time as a freshman and sit on it for a year because most likely you will be working your tail off after that. Go to some events, maybe join a club but generally try to enjoy college for at least a year. Spend time trying to find what your passionate about and then go pursue that. Once you have an idea, don’t spend time making business plans or doing market research, just go make something.

 What ignited you to start Spark and Catalyze?

There are all sorts of amazing startups in Boulder and Fletcher wanted to add value to their lives in some way. These companies had a need that Fletcher realized he could help with. Fletcher identified this great startup scene was completely unrelated to the university. He had access to a ton of great students who otherwise didn’t really know how to engage in the startup community. It was then his mission to connect the two worlds by making it easier for students to connect to startups and for startups to connect with students. Spark was the culmination of his vision on how he could help the community at the time. The natural evolution once you brought these students into the entrepreneurship scene with things like Spark and New Venture Challenge was to keep them doing their projects during the summer and thus the Catalyze accelerator was founded.

 How do you see the Boulder Startup community evolving? How is Boulder going to pave the way? How is Spark going to be apart of that?

Boulder startup community is now being looked at as the model. Boulder is kind of the first thriving startup community outside of Silicon Valley. A lot of smaller ecosystems are looking to Boulder on how to succeed. One big thing you’re going to see is the connection between Boulder and Denver. There is only so much space and only so many people in Boulder, so you’re really going to see this cross-city collaboration.

 

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